Trio headed by former All Black captain would bring coaching authority and skill to the Blues.

The Blues' coaching panel for 2016 is: head coach Tana Umaga, assistants Paul Feeney and Steve Jackson.

What are your objections? Not a racy enough group for the private investors, not enough coaching pizzazz to make some sense out of the problems that have dogged the Blues?

Most suggestions about a new panel have fixed on head coaches with international pedigrees such as Robbie Deans, Joe Schmidt, Warren Gatland, Vern Cotter or Milton Haig but they would all have to talk or buy their way out of current contracts.

There's interest from Wayne Smith on a mentoring basis and others like Jason O'Halloran, Kevin Schuler or Colin Cooper might be in the frame.


Sexy or reputation have not cut it for the Blues. David Nucifora, Pat Lam and John Kirwan are the last three coaches with results sliding from 59 per cent to 46 per cent for Lam and Kirwan running about 35 per cent.

A group headed by former All Black captain Umaga would tap into the work he has done with Counties Manukau, the experience he has gleaned about types of players who flourish and how to achieve that. He also worked with the NZ Under-20 squad.

These days Jackson heads up Harbour but he used to coach with Umaga while Feeney has worked up the divisions to coach Auckland and has partnered Jackson for the past two years with the Blues' development squads.

They bring a breadth of coaching authority and skills while Umaga brings the status and influence to attract players to the region.

All the conjecture about coaches and the future is at an impasse, though, with meetings scheduled to resolve decisions on whether the Blues should retain or dispense with Kirwan.

The standoff has occurred because the Auckland Rugby Union's two board members want coaching alternatives to Kirwan investigated while the other voting members have altered their opinions and want him retained.

That change occurred last month once Kirwan presented his succession plan ideas about Smith's involvement and Tabai Matson being tempted to the Blues.

Auckland remained opposed to Kirwan's retention and non-voting chairman Tony Carter confirmed there were some heated discussions at board level.


"There were strongly held views and people were pretty upset about the way it transpired," he said.

That standoff brought requests to New Zealand Rugby to mediate in the dispute, and chief executive Steve Tew has agreed to that appeal.

Carter thought there would be concessions this week when the board reconvened.

"It's not like a commercial board where a majority decision is enough; according to our constitution we have to have a consensus," Carter said.

This is the first major dispute for the Blues' new ownership model, which allows for a 50 per cent ownership of the franchise licence by an investor - in this case Murray Bolton.